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Copyright: Open Resources

A useful source of information and advice on Copyright in HE

Open Access and Crown Copyright


Image by: Mike A Morrison CC-BY-SA

Open Access

Open Access (OA) refers to scholarly resources that have been placed online for openly accessible viewing and reuse, such as journal articles, books and other publications. Instead of having to pay or access the research through an institutional subscription, Open Access makes research freely available to everyone, without having to log in or authenticate, allowing for resources to be more easily discovered online. 

NOTE: Importantly, while Open Access is free of most copyright licensing restrictions, it is not the same as Public Domain, and most Open Access creators do retain their copyrights but have published under this domain in order to encourage the exchange of academic information in order to widen public access.

There are two main kinds of Open Access: ​Green and ​​Gold..

Green Open Access means that the material has been published in a traditional journal, but has been made available in a shareable version through online archive or institutional repository, like the BCU Library repository.

You can find Green Open Access material specifically by selecting the Open Access filter under the left-hand Availability refinement tab after searching your material in the Library collection.

Gold Open Access means that the published version of the research material has been made open access and available directly from the journal, and can be found directly from the publisher site. The reader does need to pay to read the material. 

Both types Open Access are available for you to access immediately and for free.


A useful guide to Open Access Terminology is available from University of Cambridge Libraries.

Open Government Licence/Crown Copyright

What is Crown Copyright?

Defined under section 163 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as "works made by officers or servants of the Crown in the course of their duties", Crown Copyright is a form of copyright claim used by the UK Government (as well many Commonwealth country Governments) and covers material created by civil servants, ministers and government departments and agencies. This includes legislation, government codes of practice, Ordnance Survey mapping, government reports, official press releases, academic articles and many public records.1

Copyright can also come into Crown ownership by means of assignment or transfer of the copyright from the legal owner of the copyright to the Crown. Like other works, the duration in a Crown Copyright work lasts 70 years after the death of the person who created it.
NOTE: For clarification of the duration of copyright please see the flowcharts for Crown copyright and non-Crown copyright, both produced by The National Archives.2

The default copyright licence for Crown copyright material is the Open Government Licence (see next tab).

The Open Government Licence is a copyright licence that facilitates the re-use of a wide range of public sector information and works published by the UK Government (although other UK public sector bodies may apply also it to their respective publications.)

Developed and maintained by The National Archives, it is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence, and subject to the same attribution requirements bound to this licence types. If using a work licensed under a Open Government Licence,

 You are able tocopy, share, make derivative works and remixes in any medium or format (including commercially), publish, distributed and transmit the information - anything you want, so long as:

-  You indicate if any changes were made to the material.

- The source of the information is credited appropriatelyby including or linking to any attribution statement specified by the Information Provider(s) and, where possible, provide a link to the licence.

If the Information Provider does not provide a specific attribution statement, you must use the following:  “Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0” 3



1. The National Archives, 
2. The National Archives
3. The National Archives


Claire Sewell, the Office of Scholarly Communication, Cambridge University Libraries.University of Cambridge Libraries Licenced under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence. 

- Creative Commons,

- Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Managed by The National Archives) Licensed under Open Government Licence v3.0

- Suber, Peter. "Open Access Overview" Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States Licence

- The National Archives,


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